Developers hoping to redevelop Bellevue Center likely will not get the $12 million in tax incentives they wanted for the project.
Mayor Karl Dean’s top staffers told Foursquare Properties on Friday that the mayor couldn’t support the proposal for tax-increment financing the developer sought for the $180-million project.
“We’re not opposed to doing something,” said Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling, adding that the mayor’s office is open to other ideas. “This was not the right form.”
Metro Council legislation will be deferred at tonight’s meeting so the developer can explore other ideas and create another proposal.
Foursquare bought the property in mid-December with the incentive proposal still on the table. The developer is attempting to have the area designated an economic development zone so it can go through the Metro Industrial Development Board for the incentives.
“We will continue to work with the administration to find a way to make this project all that it can and should be,” said James Weaver, an attorney with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis who represents Foursquare. “The administration has asked that we explore a couple of different ideas related to site and we will of course do that.”
Typically, tax-increment financing is used on blighted property in urban areas and done through a housing authority. Basically, a developer takes out a loan for a public infrastructure portion of the property, such as a parking garage, and pays that loan back through the higher property taxes. Metro keeps the base property-tax revenue.
Tennessee law was changed several years ago to give industrial development boards the ability to use TIF loans. Foursquare’s plan is the first for Nashville and the mayor’s office wants to first create a policy for using the method, particularly in non-urban parts of the city.
Council could approve a deal without Dean’s blessing, but observers said that likely would not happen. Council members tend to look to the mayor’s office for guidance on economic development matters.